D.C. Air National Guard participates in weapons system evaluation program

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Anthony Small
  • 113th Wing

More than 110 Airmen from the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard, temporarily deployed to participate in the Weapons System Evaluation Program, April 6-21 on Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

The Air Force's combined program for testing live-fire, air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons is known as WSEP. By giving the ground staff practice with handling live bombs, it gives pilots a chance to fire live missiles.

“We show up here to shoot and drop full-scale munitions on a test range with test evaluations looking at the weapons, systems, bombs, jets and pilots to make sure all those are working correctly,” said Lt. Col. Todd Gibson, commander and detachment commander, 121st Fighter Squadron, DCANG. “We don’t get to do this very often. It’s a good opportunity to train altogether.”

The unified training enables many units to share knowledge across a range of skill sets and career fields.

“We are testing our maintenance capabilities to provide air-to-air and air-to-ground support for our operations partners,” said Lt. John Dansby Jr., munitions systems technician, 113th Maintenance Squadron, DCANG. “We get aircraft ready from start to finish, including bomb building, missile testing and even some incentive rides.”

Even though the exercise was largely geared toward training pilots, maintaining aircraft, and other aviation-related job sectors, supporting troops appreciated the chance to receive in-depth training like logistics.

“I arrive early and coordinate with the local Logistics Readiness Squadron to ensure things like buses, baggage trucks and equipment are ready for exercise,” said Tech. Sgt. Del Juan Avila, logistics management specialist, 113th Mission Support Group, DCANG. “I also stay late to take care of all the coordination that needs to be done after our unit leaves.”

Members had the chance to be selected for familiarization flights during the exercise to learn more about the gear and aircraft and to get a taste of what F-16 pilots go through while flying.

“The familiarization flight was a ride no roller coaster can prepare you for,” said Senior Airman Gabriel Dizon, munitions system journeyman, 113th Maintenance Squadron, DCANG. “Flying bird-to-bird is something I will never forget.”